What if I Am Diagnosed with Dementia? Will I Lose My Home and My Assets if I Need to Go Onto Care? the Importance Of Preparation.

Posted: 19th May 2017

More often than not a query about making wills leads onto a conversation about protecting assets if the client goes into a care home.

There is an assumption if someone needs to go into a care home it means all of their assets, including the family home, will need to be sold to pay for care home fees. While this is true for some it is never a certainty.

As with any change in circumstance a diagnosis of a life changing illness should prompt a visit to a solicitor who can help you to not only prepare a will so your estate is inherited by the people you have chosen. A solicitor will also discuss the importance of powers of attorney to ensure, if there is ever a time you cannot manage your own affairs, you have already chosen someone you trust to act in your best interests and manage your property and financial affairs as well as your health and welfare.

While a diagnosis of dementia should prompt a visit to a solicitor to discuss wills and powers of attorney this is something that can also be discussed without any diagnosis. It is always a good idea to make sure you have your affairs in order should anything impact your ability to make decisions for yourself – especially if you are concerned about the future. As a GP would be able to reassure you about your health a solicitor can also hopefully reassure you, or at least answer your questions, about any concerns you have regarding your assets.

As I have briefly touched on above, the need to go into a care home does not immediately trigger the need to sell the family home to pay for care home fees. If the move to a care home is from hospital or as a result of being unable to manage in your home there will always be an assessment of needs coupled with a financial assessment.

The result of these assessments will determine what, if anything, you need to contribute towards your care home fees. In addition, various circumstances can mean the family home is exempt from financial assessment such as a spouse still living in the property.

It is also incredibly important to be aware of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding as this funding is provided to people who have a certain level of health need. If someone is awarded NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding the NHS pays for 100% of their care, regardless how much money you have in the bank.

Eligibility for funding towards care home fees is complex and is different for everyone. In addition, even if someone is not eligible for funding at the time they go into the care home it is not to say this won’t change in the future as their care needs change.

If you have a loved one in a care home, or believe that they may need to go into a care home, it is definitely worth locating a solicitor who has specialist knowledge of care home funding as they will be able to help you with any dispute regarding the funding as well as help you determine when an application should be made to reassess someone’s needs.